It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.jpg
Studio album by Public Enemy


June 28, 1988


April 1987 - January 1988


Chung King Studios
(Manhattan, New York)
Greene Street Recording
(New York City, NY)
Sabella Studios
(Rosalyn, New York)
Spectrum City Studios
(Long Island, New York)


Hip hop, East Coast hip hop, Political hip hop, Golden age hip hop, Hardcore hip hop, Sampledelia




Def Jam Recordings


Carl Ryder, Hank Shocklee, Rick Rubin (exec.)

Public Enemy chronology


Yo! Bum Rush the Show (1987)


Fear of a Black Planet (1990)

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back is the second studio album by American hip hop group Public Enemy, released in June 28, 1988 on Def Jam Recordings. Public Enemy set out to make the hip hop equivalent of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, an album noted for its strong social commentary. Recording sessions took place during April 1987 to January 1988 at Chung King Studios, Greene St. Recording, Sabella Studios and Spectrum City Studios in New York City. The music, produced by Public Enemy's production squad The Bomb Squad, is at a faster tempo than their previous work for performance purposes. Chuck D performs politically charged lyrics, while Flavor Flav supports him with "hype man" vocals.

The album charted for 49 weeks on the US Billboard 200, peaking at number 42. It was certified platinum by the RIAA in August 1989 for shipments of one million copies. The album was well received by music critics upon release, who hailed it for its production techniques and the socially conscious and political lyrics of lead MC Chuck D.

Since its initial reception, the album has been regarded by music writers and publications as one of the greatest and most influential albums. In 1998, it was selected by The Source magazine as one of the 100 Best Albums. In 2003, the album was ranked number 48 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and was the highest ranked hip hop album on the list.

Track listing[edit | edit source]

All songs performed by Public Enemy. All songs produced by Hank Shocklee and Carl Ryder.

No. Title Writer(s) Time
1. "Countdown to Armageddon" Ridenhour, Sadler, Shocklee 1:40
2. "Bring the Noise" Ridenhour, Sadler, Shocklee 3:46
3. "Don't Believe the Hype" Drayton, Ridenhour, Sadler, Shocklee 5:19
4. "Cold Lampin' with Flavor" Drayton, Sadler, Shocklee 4:17
5. "Terminator X to the Edge of Panic" Drayton, Ridenhour, Rogers 4:31
6. "Mind Terrorist" Ridenhour, Sadler, Shocklee 1:21
7. "Louder Than a Bomb" Ridenhour, Sadler, Shocklee 3:37
8. "Caught, Can We Get a Witness?" Ridenhour, Sadler, Shocklee 4:53
9. "Show 'Em Whatcha Got" Ridenhour, Sadler, Shocklee 1:56
10. "She Watch Channel Zero?!" Drayton, Griffin, Ridenhour, Sadler, Shocklee 3:49
11. "Night of the Living Baseheads" Ridenhour, Sadler, Shocklee 3:14
12. "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" Drayton, Ridenhour, Sadler, Shocklee 6:23
13. "Security of the First World" Ridenhour, Sadler, Shocklee 1:20
14. "Rebel Without a Pause" Ridenhour, Rogers, Sadler, Shocklee 5:02
15. "Prophets of Rage" Drayton, Ridenhour, Sadler, Shocklee 3:18
16. "Party for Your Right to Fight" Ridenhour, Sadler, Shocklee 3:24
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